Men of the Twentieth Century by Geoffrey Nutter

They are wearing suits and knitted ties
and thick overlapping overcoats
that fold upon their coats of worsted wool
and double breasts. And they are wearing
doves darkened by the night, and caps
with brims that snap, their hair
streamlined with brilliantine and bronzish-
green. Their satchels bright
with beaded rain hold scores symphonic,
as they pass through the double doors
of metamorphosen.
shall we all sit down in the woods
and marvel at their fortune?
Their prevailing is the simplest prevailing:
to have grasped the water-damaged spine
of a biography, to have carved out a self
from among all others, as from cliffs,
that become transparent as water,
Shostakovichian as transparency
is shocking, as clearly visible
as they come striding up to us
aroused from furtive and sporadic rest
at long last: willing and accountable,
alive in their banality, in cubical,
in stadia, in firestorm, in chancellery,
the men of the twentieth century.